Resistance of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria cells to the glycosylphosphatidylinositol-binding toxin aerolysin.
Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) is a clonal stem cell disorder caused by a somatic mutation of the PIGA gene. The product of this gene is required for the biosynthesis of glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchors; therefore, the phenotypic hallmark of PNH cells is an absence or marked deficiency of all GPI-anchored proteins. Aerolysin is a toxin secreted by the bacterial pathogen Aeromonas hydrophila and is capable of killing target cells by forming channels in their membranes after binding to GPI-anchored receptors. We found that PNH blood cells (erythrocytes, lymphocytes, and granulocytes), but not blood cells from normals or other hematologic disorders, are resistant to the cytotoxic effects of aerolysin. The percentage of lysis of PNH cells after aerolysin exposure paralleled the percentage of CD59(+) cells in the samples measured by flow cytometry. The kinetics of red blood cell lysis correlated with the type of PNH erythrocytes. PNH type III cells were completely resistant to aerolysin, whereas PNH type II cells displayed intermediate sensitivity. Importantly, the use of aerolysin allowed us to detect PNH populations that could not be detected by standard flow cytometry. Resistance of PNH cells to aerolysin allows for a simple, inexpensive assay for PNH that is sensitive and specific. Aerolysin should also be useful in studying PNH biology. (+info)
Clonal populations of hematopoietic cells with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria genotype and phenotype are present in normal individuals.
In paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), acquired somatic mutations in the PIG-A gene give rise to clonal populations of red blood cells unable to express proteins linked to the membrane by a glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor. These proteins include the complement inhibitors CD55 and CD59, and this explains the hypersensitivity to complement of red cells in PNH patients, manifested by intravascular hemolysis. The factors that determine to what extent mutant clones expand have not yet been pinpointed; it has been suggested that existing PNH clones may have a conditional growth advantage depending on some factor (e.g., autoimmune) present in the marrow environment of PNH patients. Using flow cytometric analysis of granulocytes, we now have identified cells that have the PNH phenotype, at an average frequency of 22 per million (range 10-51 per million) in nine normal individuals. These rare cells were collected by flow sorting, and exons 2 and 6 of the PIG-A gene were amplified by nested PCR. We found PIG-A mutations in six cases: four missense, one frameshift, and one nonsense mutation. PNH red blood cells also were identified at a frequency of eight per million. Thus, small clones with PIG-A mutations exist commonly in normal individuals, showing clearly that PIG-A gene mutations are not sufficient for the development of PNH. Because PIG-A encodes an enzyme essential for the expression of a host of surface proteins, the PIG-A gene provides a highly sensitive system for the study of somatic mutations in hematopoietic cells. (+info)
Elevated levels of circulating procoagulant microparticles in patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria and aplastic anemia.
Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), frequently occurring during suppressed hematopoiesis including aplastic anemia (AA), is a clonal disorder associated with an increased incidence of thrombotic events. Complement-mediated hemolysis, impairment of the fibrinolytic system, or platelet activation are thought to be responsible for the associated thrombotic risk. We investigated here the elevation of membrane-derived procoagulant microparticles in the blood flow of such patients. Elevated levels of circulating microparticles were in fact detected in both de novo PNH patients and AA subjects with a PNH clone, but not in those with AA without a PNH clone. The cellular origin of the microparticles was determined in PNH samples; most stemmed from platelets. Glycophorin A+ particles were rarely detected. Therefore, platelet activation, resulting in the dissemination of procoagulant phospholipids in the blood flow, could be one of the main causes for the elevated thrombotic risk associated with PNH. These observations suggest that shed membrane particles can be considered a valuable biological parameter for the assessment of possible thrombotic complications in patients with PNH. (+info)
X inactivation and somatic cell selection rescue female mice carrying a Piga-null mutation.
A somatic mutation in the X linked PIGA gene is responsible for the deficiency of glycosyl phosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins on blood cells from patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria. No inherited form of GPI-anchor deficiency has been described. Because conventional Piga gene knockout is associated with high embryonic lethality in chimeric mice, we used the Cre/loxP system. We generated mice in which two loxP sites flank part of Piga exon 2. After crossbreeding with female mice of the EIIa-cre strain, the floxed allele undergoes Cre-mediated recombination with high efficiency during early embryonic development. Because of X chromosome inactivation, female offspring are mosaic for cells that express or lack GPI-linked proteins. Analysis of mosaic mice showed that in heart, lung, kidney, brain, and liver, mainly wild-type Piga is active, suggesting that these tissues require GPI-linked proteins. The salient exceptions were spleen, thymus, and red blood cells, which had almost equal numbers of cells expressing the wild-type or the recombined allele, implying that GPI-linked proteins are not essential for the derivation of these tissues. PIGA(-) cells had no growth advantage, suggesting that other factors are needed for their clonal dominance in patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria. (+info)
Defective TCR signaling events in glycosylphosphatidylinositol-deficient T cells derived from paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria patients.
Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) is an acquired hemolytic disorder characterized by the presence of abnormal cells of various hematopoietic cell lineages deficient in surface expression of glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored molecules. By analyzing T cells isolated from patients affected with PNH, it was found that ex vivo GPI-deficient CD4(+) and CD8(+) peripheral T cells display a more naive phenotype as compared to wild-type cells. In addition, in vitro proliferative responses to allogeneic antigen-presenting cells were shown to be reduced in mutant T cells. To investigate the molecular basis responsible for defective T cell activation in GPI-deficient T cells, T cell lines and T cell clones were generated from patients affected with PNH. When stimulated with anti-CD3epsilon mAb, mutant cells displayed a significantly decreased activation of protein tyrosine kinase p56(lck). The decreased kinase activity was accompanied by a delayed TCR capping and internalization. Interestingly, protein tyrosine phosphorylation is not only quantitatively but also qualitatively affected, with one substrate being more intensively phosphorylated in mutant than in wild-type cells. These observations suggest that a defective activation of p56(lck) contributes to the depressed immune responses observed in GPI-deficient T cells derived from PNH patients. (+info)
Analysis of T cells in paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria provides direct evidence that thymic T-cell production declines with age.
Peripheral blood T cells in patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) comprise a mixture of residual normal and glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-deficient PNH cells. Using multicolor flow cytometry, we demonstrated significant differences between the proportions of naive and memory cells within these populations. PNH T cells comprise mainly naive cells (CD45RA(+)CD45R0(-)), whereas normal T cells in the same patients were predominantly memory (CD45RA(-)CD45R0(+)) cells. Functional analyses showed that GPI-deficient CD45RA(+) T cells can convert to a CD45R0(+) phenotype. We present data from a PNH patient in remission for 20 years who still had significant numbers of GPI-deficient T cells; these showed a normal distribution of naive and memory components. The predominantly naive phenotype of GPI-deficient T cells seen in PNH patients with active disease likely reflects the phenotype of recent normal thymic emigrants. In patients where hematopoiesis was predominantly derived from the PNH stem cell, absolute numbers of both naive PNH CD4(+) cells and CD8(+) cells show an inverse correlation with patient age, implying this age-related decline in T-cell production is secondary to a decrease in thymic activity rather than a stem cell defect. (+info)
Increased sensitivity to complement and a decreased red blood cell life span in mice mosaic for a nonfunctional Piga gene.
The gene PIGA encodes one of the protein subunits of the alpha1-6-N acetylglucosaminyltransferase complex, which catalyses an early step in the biosynthesis of glycosyl phosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchors. PIGA is somatically mutated in blood cells from patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), leading to deficiency of GPI-linked proteins on the cell surface. To investigate in detail how inactivating mutations of the PIGA gene affect hematopoiesis, we generated a mouse line, in which loxP-mediated excision of part of exon 2 occurs on the expression of Cre. After crossbreeding with EIIa-cre transgenic mice, recombination occurs early in embryonic life. Mice that are mosaics for the recombined Piga gene are viable and lack GPI-linked proteins on a proportion of circulating blood cells. This resembles the coexistence of normal cells and PNH cells in patients with an established PNH clone. PIGA(-) blood cells in mosaic mice have biologic features characteristic of those classically seen in patients with PNH, including an increased sensitivity toward complement mediated lysis and a decreased life span in circulation. However, during the 12-month follow-up, the PIGA(-) cell population did not increase, clearly showing that a Piga gene mutation is not sufficient to cause the human disease, PNH. (+info)
Different roles of glycosylphosphatidylinositol in various hematopoietic cells as revealed by a mouse model of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria.
Patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) have one or a few clones of mutant hematopoietic stem cells defective in glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) synthesis as a result of somatic mutation in the X-linked gene PIG-A. The mutant stem cell clone dominates hematopoiesis by a mechanism that is unclear. To test whether a lack of multiple GPI-anchored proteins results in dysregulation and expansion of stem cells, we generated mice in which GPI-anchor negative cells are present only in the hematopoietic system. We transplanted lethally irradiated mice with female fetal liver cells bearing one allele of the Piga gene disrupted by conditional gene targeting. Because of the X-chromosome inactivation, a significant fraction of the hematopoietic stem cells in fetal livers was GPI-anchor negative. In the transplanted mice, cells of all hematopoietic lineages contained GPI-anchor negative cells. The percentage of GPI-anchor negative cells was much higher in T lymphocytes including immature thymocytes than in other cell types, suggesting a regulatory role for GPI-anchored proteins at an early stage of T-lymphocyte development. However, the proportions of GPI-anchor negative cells in various blood cell lineages were stable over a period of 42 weeks, indicating that Piga mutation alone does not account for the dominance of the mutant stem cells and that other phenotypic changes are involved in pathogenesis of PNH. (+info)